McAfee Predicts More Hacktivism in 2012

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2012-01-07

The hacktivist collective Anonymous will either reorgranize into a cohesive body or disband completely, McAfee researchers said in their security predictions for 2012.

Anonymous is a loosely defined collective with no formal hierarchy or set of leaders. Any individual can take part in an Anonymous operation, and anyone start a campaign and encourage supporters to join in. The lack of a structure has resulted in several members to denounce certain attacks as not being "really" from Anonymous. There have been disagreements between members whether or not to target a company even before the operation launched.

"Either the 'true' Anonymous group will reinvent itself, or die out," McAfee Labs said.

Just as there's no official "face" for Anonymous, there's no preferred method of attack. Some members prefer launching denial of service attacks to disable Websites and disrupt operations to prove a point. Others would rather exploit network and application vulnerabilities to capture and dump personally identifiable information on the Internet, a practice now known as 'doxing.'

Anonymous and similar hacktivist groups will also cross the line between the digital and physical worlds and start organizing physical protests, McAfee said. The group organized protesters in the San Francisco Bay Area to protest police shootings by the transit police at the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in August and helped publicize the Occupy protests in the fall.

McAfee also predicted there will be more focus on cyber-warfare, increased government activity in cyber-space and more hacktivism in 2012.

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